Quick Update: Last night our church voted to accept the new statement of faith and constitution. Both of these were major overhauls. By God's grace, it was a 100% yes vote! More important than the percentage, the discussion and conversation was marked by gentleness, trust, and wisdom.
After the meeting, someone asked me why I thought things went so well. This individual had been at the church during a time when it was marked by in-fighting & bitterness, and he was overwhelmed by the grace-filled spirit of last night's meeting. Ultimately, I think it comes down to a trust issue.
Trust God: Do we really believe that God is in control, or do we try to control the situations we find ourselves in? The moment we begin to think success or failure depends on our ability to control a situation is the moment we cease trusting God--which only brings about anger, bitterness, and fear. Only by trusting in His goodness and sovereignty can we experience His joy and peace.
Trust the elected Leadership: This is a group much larger than the Pastor. God has called and equipped godly men to serve as pastors/elders and deacons. He has gifted and equipped other men and women to serve in many other roles within the body. There is a joy in being able to recognize the godliness in others, and a wonderful peace that comes when we lovingly submit to these faithful leaders & servants.
Trust the Body: I firmly and passionately believe that the Spirit also leads through the entire Body. Sadly, though most Baptist churches are "technically" Congregational in terms of church polity, in actuality few Baptist pastors fully embrace the priesthood of all believers. Ultimately, who cares if a new constitution is passed? The bigger issue is that the congregation has gathered together in prayer and discernment in order to bring glory and honor to God. When that happens, the outcome is always joyous (regardless of whether the proposal passes). Pastors, if you cannot be as joyous with a 'no' as you are with a 'yes', then you don't trust your Body.